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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)

TITLE: It's Not A Mother Goose Tale
By Robyn Burke


Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water…

Jack was certain the promotion was coming. He smoothed his tie and took a quick final glance in his rear view mirror. Assured that his appearance was the least of his worries today, thanks to his wife’s impeccable taste, he grabbed his briefcase and departed from the car. Whistling as he crossed the parking lot, he asked God again to bless this meeting.

Jill parked her car in the last available slot and breathed a sigh of relief. Traffic was always her biggest challenge of the daily commute but she so loved her job at the elementary school that she was willing to endure almost any amount of grief it took to get there each morning. She glanced at her wrist watch and thought of Jack. His meeting with the ‘big boys’ was just about to start and she offered another silent prayer for a favorable outcome.

Jack and Jill had been married almost 5 years and the ribbing over their paired names never stopped. They were both in their early thirties and determined to do ‘it’ right. College first, good jobs, then the perfect wedding and the purchase of a small starter home. They wanted to be stable and secure before they started a family. They felt that time has arrived and for the past several months had been very keen on making that happen. Life was very, very good.

Jack fell down and broke his crown...

A stunned and speechless Jack stood in the door of what would no longer be his office. He was still trying to process the news of the layoff when his cell phone rang. Called I.D. told him it was Jill and he contemplated ignoring the call until he was better composed. But his relationship with Jill was built on honesty and trust and there was no valid reason to delay sharing this set back. He flipped open his phone.

Hanging up, Jill sat back in her chair, her shoulders sagging in grief. She was determined not to cry however. Recess would be over soon and her classroom would be once again filled with wiggly giggly seven and eight year olds. She needed to concentrate on that right now, not Jacks crushing news. And she had her own announcement to share with him, one she had planned to do over dinner tonight as part of the celebration of the assumed promotion. An announcement that, in the light of the layoff, seemed like incredibly bad timing.

and Jill came tumbling after…

It was later that afternoon that Jill started experiencing cramping. In the staff lounge she doubled over in pain as another teacher placed a call to Jill's doctor and then to Jack. Choking back tears, as she endured the ride to the medical center, she whispered ‘Please God, please’, over and over again.
Jack met her at the door of the facility, his face filled with concern and confusion. The doctor brought him up to speed, but before Jack could even fully assimilate the news of Jill's pregnancy, the confirmation that she had just miscarried left him in shocked bewilderment. How did their lives get turned upside down in the space of one day?

And there they stayed, hurt and afraid, for just a little while…

Later, they sat in the exam room and wept together. Jack took her home and with a gentleness Jill had not seen in him before, tended to her needs. They were too worn out emotionally to try to talk through what they had experienced so they laid on thier bed, in the dark, holding hands until they drifted into an exhausted sleep.

But faith in prayer to a God who cares will carry them over the miles...

Over the course of the next few days, they attempted to put their lives back on track. Jill returned to work and Jack updated his resume and answered dozens of online ads. They shared the news of Jack’s layoff with many and chose to share the loss of the baby with immediate family and their small group.

For several nights, they gathered with church family, in their living room and cried out to God for understanding, provision and healing.

And, though it didn’t happen overnight, eventually a peace settled in and trust replaced worry. Through the peaks and valleys, the ups and downs, God sustains.

Jack and Jill would once again climb the hill.

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This article has been read 562 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Fitzpatrick04/09/09
Oh my goodness. This was so well thought out and I always like stanzas woven into the course of the story. Very well done! How creative! I love your touch to the ending of the well known nursery rhyme. I like your version better than the original.:)God bless and keep listening the Lord as you write. This just flowed!
Anita van der Elst04/09/09
Read thru this twice & both times brought deep emotion. What's really astonishing is that you could've been writing the story of a young woman in my small group. So heart rending to see & hear her grief over her loss of a baby. She knows too that God is there for her & her now unemployed husband. I may just share this story with her. Well told & a good read(other than a couple of typos :-)), very well told.
Jase Rosenburg04/09/09
This was amazing! I loved it more than words can express. The title grabbed my attention and the story wouldn't let it go!
Rachel Rudd 04/09/09
You really drew me into this story with your use of the rhyme and the poignant portrayal of this couples' pain. Well done!
Charla Diehl 04/09/09
Your title aroused my curiousity and your story was very well written. Sadly, today this could be many people's story. Good job.
Bryan Ridenour04/10/09
Well written and very creative. Great Job!!!
Diana Dart 04/10/09
Superb - drew me along and gripped my heart. Very creative and well written.
Beth LaBuff 04/11/09
Masterful writing on this heart-warming story! I enjoyed everything about it. Love the message of hope at the end.
Kathleen Morris04/12/09
This was wonderful writing as well as storytelling! Love the Jack and Jill fairy tale theme!
Joy Bach 04/16/09
Congratulations on your "Highly Commended". If I had been judging, this would have been 1st place. So enjoyable to read, even though heartbreaking to think about. Very creative.
Anita van der Elst04/16/09
Woohoo! Congratulations on your placing in the top 5. I'm so proud of you!!
Robyn Burke04/16/09
thank you to everyone for your heart warming comments and feedback. God continues to surprise and amaze me!
Lollie Hofer04/16/09
This was a gut-wrenching story with a wonderful message of hope intertwined. This is one of the best stories I've read this week. Congratulations on your recognition.
Gloria Graves04/26/09
One word. WOW!